- 12 Mar 2014 8:00 AM
Mr. Illés expressed his thanks to Switzerland for providing 31 billion forints (EUR 22.5m) in funding to Hungary for various development programmes within the framework of the Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation Programme. He called the funding for environmental protection especially important, because "the greater destruction of nature and greater pollution requires greater efforts to protect nature".
The Swiss funding would help provide 1.4 billion forints in funding to reinforce the OLM network, he said, adding that the project would involve the acquisition of sampling equipment, analytical laboratory equipment and two mobile measuring stations.
The Minister of State stressed that the programme would help Hungary conform to strict EU air pollution limits, enabling the country to forestall possible infringement proceedings and related fines totalling ten billion forints-a-year. In addition, it has become possible to prepare an exact snapshot of the state of pollution with regard to further tasks that need to be performed, because during the 2014-2020 financial period the Government plans to realise several projects that reduce the level industrial and transport-related air pollution, he added.
In reply to a question from Hungarian news agency MTI, Mr. Illés said that seven out of the ten environmental protection and conservation authorities operating in Hungary have laboratories, in view of which they have received the new equipment and sampling apparatus, including gas chromatographs, ionographs and spectrophotometers that are capable of revealing even the tiniest concentrations of pollutant materials.
The Central Transdanubia Environmental Protection and Conservation Directorate has received equipment worth around 110-120 million forints, he noted.
Switzerland's Ambassador to Hungary Jean-Francois Paroz said that following the elaboration of the planning documents and the closing of the open public tender, the first shipments of equipment had already arrived in laboratories and "the first tangible results are already available", adding that they are keeping to the Programme schedule according to which the project will be completed by the end of the year.
Switzerland is providing 1.2 billion forints (EUR 850m) in funding towards the modernisation of the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network, while the Ministry of Rural Development is providing the remaining 15 percent in required funding.
According to the Swiss Ambassador, everything is given for the Programme to become a success story and realise the further development of the national air pollution map.
The Ministry of Rural Development published a tender for the procurement of air pollution monitoring equipment, including 144 pieces of sampling equipment, 31 pieces of laboratory equipment and two mobile measuring stations.
The Ministry goal was to enable the monitoring of air pollution levels in cities and sub-regions that have no automatic measuring stations and to create the conditions for the regional laboratory analysis of toxic heavy metal and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) based on on-site sampling.
Ini 2006, the European Commission and Switzerland agreed that the Swiss Government would provide one billion Swiss franks to the ten new EU member states, of which Hungary is receiving CHF 130 million 738 thousand.